SA to probe Parliament
The SA Government has agreed to an inquiry into harassment within State Parliament.
The state's Upper House asked for an investigation into “systemic problems” of sexual harassment within the Parliament back in February this year, but the Government-controlled Lower House did not support it.
Now, Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has moved a motion inviting acting commissioner Emily Strickland to launch the inquiry, and it has passed both the Lower and Upper Houses.
Commissioner Strickland’s inquiry will focus on the workplace culture, complaint mechanisms, barriers to reporting harassment, actions taken against perpetrators and potential policy changes at Parliament.
Ms Chapman acknowledged the Government’s reticence to hold an inquiry when it was put forth in February, but says that the terms of reference for the inquiry were different, as they were developed by the commissioner.
“I move this motion … consistent with discussions with the acting equal opportunity commissioner,” the Attorney-General said.
“I'm confident that it captures what members of the Parliament wish to see.”
Greens MLC Tammy Franks moved the original motion in February.
“Every attempt that I made to expedite this important debate … and to speak at length about the appalling prevalence of sexual harassment in South Australian workplaces was shutdown,” she told reporters.
“Notwithstanding that, we will support this motion so that this review, that has long been called for, can be conducted.”
The original push for an inquiry was triggered by sexual misconduct allegations against then-Liberal MP Sam Duluk.
Mr Duluk has been charged with basic assault after allegedly slapping SA Best MLC Connie Bonaros on the backside at a Parliament Christmas party.
Premier Steven Marshall banished Mr Duluk from the Liberal party room, and the now-independent MP says he is seeking professional help for his alcohol use.